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for Gilded Cage for a Nightingale, Book Three of Nightingale's Odyssey

3/21/2018 c20 5iris2312
Interesting ...
9/12/2017 c30 IsoAngelofDoom
The Nightingale's Downfall

Well, well, you sure are one cruel authoress. In the first two stories, you gradually gave Erik everything a man could ever wish for. Fame, fortune, love, family, acceptance. And in this book, you threatened to destroy them all. In the pursuit to protect his loved ones, Erik let go of something worth all others in my perspective, his welfare.

The beginning of the whole story is happy and peaceful, a resemblance of Erik's contented past years. But right at the opening of the second paragraph, a warning was given of lost treasures, casting a venomous light over the whole story. If my assumption was right, that note was written after he unleashed the demon to save his friend and family and before the nagging voice drove him completely out of his mind.

His vision of his former self, acting as the Angel of Doom, resembles what you have written as the demon in the first book, they're both pulling on the strings of his mind, persuading him to turn to a darker path, a path we all know contains devastating terror and even threat to every living soul. I wonder if there is any connection between them, or are they simply the very same being?

Though they are the same person in a different time, to differ them apart, I will refer to the younger vision of Erik as the Angel.

We are all prisoners of time. Its undeniable flow carves us into someone so different from our former selves that sometimes we look back and see with a doubt as how could I have been like this? For Erik, that change was no subtle thing.

The young man who once beheld insatiable pride and arrogance, who fed on the darkness the world bestowed upon him and was only too eager to revenge, have learned to be humble, more realistic and more like a man, a real being that inhabits on earth through the decades that came. I cannot tell which fate shall be better for the benefit of Erik, but I know that losing those we cherish is a cruel fate, and living in fear of losing them is the cruelest of all. No one can blame him on letting out the Angel, not Nadir, not Christine. The Angel may have tortured the Persians for his revenge and pleasure, but at least he saved those Erik cherishes from further harm.

Yet despite their differences, I still see them as the same, I cannot just see the Angel as something that needs to be defeated or thrown away as we cannot deny ourselves. I trust that to be your reason of using 'I' when describing the Persians' deaths. If the former taunts were an attempt to be free as the Nightingale hates confinements, no matter young or old, then the continuing nags seemed purely out of the purpose of driving Erik mad. Yet I do not think the Angel would conduct such an act as Erik's worsened condition is his as well. From his retrieve after the slaughters, I can only assume that he either lacks of strength to keep in command or he wishes no true harm to the people whom the other he has learned to trust and love.

Though the Angel speaks ill toward love and care, mocks the concept of family, he was originated from a child who craved for his mother's attention and affection, who was willing to sacrifice to let her live a carefree life. The Angel of Doom knows no mercy for his enemy, but in his unusual, sometimes even twisted way, he cares for those around him. So I assumed that the latter unstopping voices are not issued, at least not entirely, from him.

Erik's mind has always been a tricky thing, from the chamber of mirrored memories to the melodies fueling his life, he cannot deny the darkness lurking within his temper just as he cannot deny his past. The Angel of Doom, the Angel of Music, the false pleasure of causing harm or death for a trivial cause or an order from the Shah, Nadir was right that he once embraced the role as assassin and executioner. Though he may look back with remorse now, the dark nature was never truly abandoned. Sooner or later, even if not provoked by the Persians, he would still have to fight this war within himself. I can only hope that he would still have Christine, Nadir and Charles on his back. (Well, I have not started the forth yet, but that does seem something that needs to be worried about.)

I love your Erik and Christine fluffs, it's so good to see them caring and understanding each other in their own way, the common sharing with an undeniable love is just a great comfort through the tormenting days.

Yet sometimes love can also tear people apart. We're more ignorant to our words or behavior around those we valued most, it is a sign of letting down our guard, yet it also indicates that our recklessness can harm those we care and care us easier and deeper. Children, in particular, are the ones to issue or become victim to harsh remarks. They expect to be cared for, be forgiven, be put into the center of their parents' world. The beauty of reading the conflicts between Charles, Christine and Erik is that it made them so real, it's like they are built out of flesh and bone instead of words and imagination. It's a life to be lived and savored, not a mere shadow of true existence.

Erik and Christine considers events from different perspectives, she worries over the safety of those she loves while he has been used to the exposing danger. Charles, on the other hand, struggles to make his world balanced. Like every child living under a pair of famous parents, he has to try harder than anyone else to make others recognize his achievements as his own. The teenage gang is also a factor that affects his relationship with Erik. During those years one cares so much about others' perspective and can be driven to conducting some rash, even unwise decisions by the words of peers around you. To get along with Erik, understand and truly love him as a father, Charles still has a long way to go. If he does not learn quickly upon the nature of the world and change his still so innocent view, I fear there not to be enough time until the world has to force its cruelness upon him.

Truly you're a genius in building up the tensions. The added fuels to boil up both Erik's and my temper, the followed relieving to hold us from 'explosion'. How I both love and hate these strategies.

I could not fully identify the reason, but I do find each and every one of your meddlesome villains hateful, the chapters for the secret gatherings always boil my temper and pull my nerves. They didn't truly know who they were dealing with, yet they dared to speak against him in such an irritable way. It is true that Erik really bought these for himself, he was and still is a man of numerous sins, some of them highly tragic and uncalled for, but I do stand on a side that he is the priority no matter the issue.

It's somehow sad for the three Persians, or at least the other two called together by Vahid, they have already made a future without their father's aid, they achieved height through their own hands, resources that made them capable of hiding in a foreign country and gain help from the professionals. An assassin who plays violin good enough to sit in a second chair or a villain wonderfully disguised as an upper class cannot appear out of thin air. Painstakingly they made all these plots to destroy a man who existed four decades ago, while they could have put their talent into better use. Especially when all their efforts were destroyed, vanished into thin air by one tiny mistake, one simple revelation. So easily was the foundation shaken and the whole scheme crushed to the ground.

Reiniger's role was more critical than the Ballard's, playing three faces at a time, the real self of assassin at night, the hidden glances and carefully planned ill-speaking toward Erik, and the good colleague for the rest of the Symphony Society. The way he tried to fit in in the first place was full of loopholes, his fluent English, his 'starving' claim as to draw sympathy, and the sudden death of Wallbeck. But people have a tendency to overlook these suspicious things in their face, especially when you have no real reason to doubt a man for. Unless one has a beast-like instinct for danger like Erik, it's hard to notify the odd things around him. Also, murdering a promising second chair only to gain the chance to troubling the first chair is such an odd idea in common senses.

The only person capable of saving Erik is Erik himself.
The only person capable of destroying Erik is Erik himself.

Erik strives for a kind of pure, innocent light. A shining ray that came directly from heaven. Christen and the Nightingale along with various other things that served as his muse contains that kind of light within. As a source of it, they attracted Erik toward them. But they cannot provide it for him, only he himself has the ability of gaining his own light and let it truly shines upon his soul.

Even without the Persians, Erik is highly likely to wear himself out one day when his body and mind refused to be further strained. With a tendency of taking on too much work and pushing himself to extremes, Erik always seem to forget that he is still human, with all the limitations the race possesses. Sooner or later, the string would one day break and like a domino, everything will fall apart. What the Persians did merely accelerated the process. What truly threatened his mind and brought to his mental breakdown was still the troublesome images and voices played inside his head.

The nightingale that gives him inspiration is a notion that came throughout the whole history, an awesome resemblance to Erik himself. Sailed to a foreign land in confinements, ignored by the common people as they cannot truly understand its talent. And once freed, gives back the world the crown of music out of pure gratitude and hope. Its heartrending songs shined out with all the possible glory. Then the false conception of safety slowly tore down their guards and at last, they fell from the pinnacle, ending up lying limply on the ground.

But luckily for Erik, his love-sick songs had been truly returned while the little nightingale could only sing his heart out in search of a mate that he will never find. The scene with the music box was touching. Confused and hurt, the nightingale proceeded in the false hope that his melodies can be matched and returned, much like Erik's self-deception when he was acting as Christine's Angel of Music.
8/3/2017 c30 40E.M.K.81
Of course I'm gping to read the next stories as well!

Erik is hearing a voice in his head but I suspect that the voice is his own, he only perceives it as 'hearing voices'.

I don't think it is his physical health that is failing him, it is his mental health. He needs help and he needs it soon before he does something that will damage his family. Nowadays I would send him to see a psychiatrist but psychiatry wasn't as developed back then. I still wonder what kind of illness is plaguing Erik - he must have suffered from this for decades, even before he came to Persia. And now that he is old he can't deal with it alone any more.
7/26/2017 c29 E.M.K.81
It seems Erik has lost control and is only partly aware of what he is doing - that means he can't be trusted, can't trust himself! He needs help to overcome this, but I am not sure if psychology at that time was developed enough to offer any help - if they are even able to find the right diagnosis. Many illnesses were not known that time.
7/20/2017 c28 Guest
Oh dear... I don't see how this could possibly end well for anyone... there goes my hope for a happy ending :""(
7/19/2017 c28 E.M.K.81
Oops. Erik killed someone and does not even remember doing so. That is a very bad sign. He might be very dangerous when he comes home if he does kill without even knowing what he is doing. He might even be a danger to his family and the Daroga. One can only hope Nadir recognizes in time that Erik is not able to control himself now or he might do something he will regret forever.
7/13/2017 c27 E.M.K.81
Much happened in this chapter. Very much. Charles and Christine nearly died - a terrible thought for Erik. I can understand that he would do everything now to stop this. But he is alone against a group now. He is taking a very high risk and I wonder how he wants to defeat them. I guess it has to do with some information Erik now has and the reader not to keep up the suspense.
7/5/2017 c26 E.M.K.81
The Angel of Doom is back - this time to save Christine and Charles. Erik needs to be like this now for I am sure the group he faces is more deadly than anyone he ever encountered before. One can only hope he will be able to snap out of this when his family is save again - for if he again develops a taste for killing he might become addicted. And that would make him nothing but a serial killer and a danger to every man in New York.
6/30/2017 c25 E.M.K.81
Somehow Erik behaves towards Damrosch as rude as his son behaved towards him. He really owes the man an apology.

Well, Erik is not the forgiving type, but Charles is his son. And the adolescent boy is likely to do and say more things that hirt Erik. He will have to learn to forgive.
6/22/2017 c24 E.M.K.81
Poor Erik. Somehow he sounds like someone suffering paranoid schizophrenia. It is quite possible, given his past, that he does. And now he was finally forced to confess to Nadir and Christine that he is hearing voices in his head - voices that torment him and he can't get rid of them.

I guess they will both worry about his mental health. And who is to blame them? Erik clearly is suffering hallucinations and that is certainly not a sign of mental health.
6/14/2017 c23 16Child of Dreams
Uh oh...
6/14/2017 c23 40E.M.K.81
Erik is on an emotional roller coaster here - he is proud of his son and he loves him. But that is really an insult and Charles knows it. I wonder what caused the boy to hurt his father like this? But yes - Erik has deformed lips. He can't play wind instruments like anyone with normal lips could. But I guess Charles has had quite a hard time before: always in the shadow of his great father who can to everything and knows everything, who has a talent for creating miracles - he just HAS TO find some way he can have for himself without immediately hearing: O, good, but your father is much better. But to rub that in Erik's face in public is... well, I am sure Erik needs every bit of his self-control not to slap the boy then and there.

I guess a clash of tempers from the adolescent boy and Erik (who is always a bit... unbalanced) is inevitable now. I only hope their father-son-relationship survives that.
6/7/2017 c22 E.M.K.81
Yes, Nadir would be able to do such thing, but I doubt that. He helped Erik when he had much more reason to hate him, why would he now that Erik provides a comfortable life for him turn against his friend?

It seems Erik found an opponent who even improved his tricks. It must be someone who had a chance to study Erik's methods closely without being detected. It cannot be the Khanum, she's already dead. Her daughter, the Grand Vizir's widow or one of their children? They would hate Erik enough, I guess. But maybe it is someone Erik hurt without even knowing he or she existed.

You do a great job keeping your readers in suspense!
6/4/2017 c21 Guest
Pure awesome.
I love your work.
6/1/2017 c21 E.M.K.81
Sorry for the delayed review. I'm quite busy.

I can understand all too well that Erik wants to go back to normal! He hates lying in bed doing nothing, but there is a risk that this will only prolong the healing period (I know what I am talking about... burn wound and karate... I shouldn't be giving anyone advice even if that is a fictional character ).

Unfortunately instead of showing off how well he is just giving away how badly injured he is. And he is already wondering why the attacks stopped, I'm quite sure his paranoia will get the better of him sooner or later.

O, Nadir is having his own network. The last two books I was wondering where his ability as policeman had gone. In "Shadowcrests Hammer" Nadir didn't speak enough English, in "Nightingale's Strain" he seemed to be extremely dependend on Erik and living on what Erik provides for him much like a crippled relative would. Maybe we get to know what he has been up to - for he seems to have a lot of time and nothing to do - now? I wonder what Nadir already knows and how this can help Erik survive?
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